Android This Week: Acer’s 7-inch tablet; New Samsung Galaxy; Free task app


Acer is the latest company to try the 7-inch tablet market, this week launching its A100 Iconia Tab, the first 7-inch tablet to ship with Google Android Honeycomb. The slate starts at $330 for an 8 GB model, while $350 buys an A100 with 16 GB of storage capacity. Both models are Wi-Fi only and have a microSD card for up to 32 GB of additional storage.

The A100’s internals and components are similar to most other Android tablets: a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 5-megapixel rear camera with 720p video recording and 2-megapixel front camera for video chat. Due to the smaller screen, the display resolution is 1024×600; many larger Honeycomb tablets currently use a higher resolution screen.

That difference isn’t an issue for applications on the A100, however. Since the A100 runs Android 3.2(s goog), it has the new stretch and zoom display features that help applications look better; even if they were developed for smaller smartphones screens or larger tablet screens. While that’s a positive feature, a key negative is the battery capacity. Acer’s A100 uses a 1520 mAh battery, which is better suited for a smartphone than a tablet. As a result, battery life is expected to top out at five hours, less if the A100 is used extensively for video playback.

New phones were launched this week as well, and Samsung is adding to its popular smartphone lineup with the Galaxy R. This new handset has many cutting edge features, similar to the Galaxy S II, but has a few cheaper components as well.

Instead of using its vivid Super AMOLED Plus display, for example, Samsung opted for a less expensive 4.19-inch Super Clear LCD screen. Gone also is the 8-megapixel camera sensor found on the Galaxy S II, replaced by a 5-megapixel shooter. Aside from those two key differences, the phone does offer a dual-core 1 GHz processor, 720p video capture, 1080p video playback and Samsung’s TouchWiz interface on top of Google Android 2.3.

Regardless of which Android phone you use, it likely has a GPS radio. This week, I was pointed to a free task application that leverages your location and provides alerts when you’re near a place to complete your task. Location Alert is available in the Android Market; I found it both simple to use and effective.

I had nearly forgot to pick something up at the supermarket, for example, but when I drove near the grocery store, Location Alert reminded me and disaster was averted. If you call not having half & half in the house a disaster, that is, and given the amount of coffee I drink, I would call that a serious problem! The free app also supports time deadlines so you could even use Location Alert for general task management as well.



Interesting how GigaOm has an “Android This Week” feature but nothing on WebOS or Blackberry. Guess that’s because Google provides most of GigaOm’s revenue. Breach of journalistic ethics not to note that this is essentially paid advertising.

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